Students and FB

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by HWilson, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

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    So what is everyone's stance on having students (Current or former) as your Facebook friend? Is it morally unacceptable? What are your thoughts or rules?
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I think having any current student as a fb friend is just a really bad idea. Even if you keep your page totally clean, you never know what a friend is going to post on your wall, what conclusion they might jump to from seeing a picture, or what perfectly normal thing they will find morally reprehensible. There are plenty of people out there that actually think teachers don't have the right to drink alcohol outside of their own home. What if one of these students/parents sees a picture of me at a bar, sees something a friend posts on my wall about going out, etc. and throws a fit? To me, it's just not worth the hassle. I'd rather keep my personal life personal.

    My best friend teaches HS and she tells the kids they can friend her when they graduate. I think thats a more appropriate policy, but even I wouldn't do that. There's been so many bad stories lately I'd rather just be safe than sorry. One of my friends merely posted, "had a rough day at school" as a status and got some huge backlash for it. I'd rather not have to constantly check/censor myself and worry about what parents or students might think.

    One of my elementary teachers friended me this year, which I thought was really strange. I think she likes seeing what people ended up doing, which I guess is understandable, but it was weird!
     
  4. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    Teachers in my district are pretty laid-back and let students be friends. I did at first, and just added them to a "Students" group so they couldn't see everything. But a few weeks ago, I deleted them all and made a separate account "Mrs Q_SchoolName". They can all be my friends, but I only post school things there. Other teachers have done the same.
     
  5. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    I don't friend current students, but lots of my colleagues do. My feeling is that I want my own life outside of school and they deserve to have theirs. If they want to tell me about their weekend on Monday morning, great, but I don't need to see the updates as they happen. Nor do I need to see them complaining about my coworkers.

    I am also concerned about liability if they post something to their wall that they shouldn't be doing (like drinking) - if something happens it could be argued that I should have known about it, whether I was online when the post was made or not. And if I had opposite-gender students I would definitely think twice about it.

    That said some of my colleagues are starting to use the groups feature for their clubs or classes. I can see the value but as those groups are public I have some safety concerns.
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I plan on making a separate facebook account just for school related things. I have my facebook set up so no one should be able to search for me (obviously there are ways around that!) but would like to keep it that way. I will be teaching seniors this year and think it's okay after they've graduated.

    A person I student taught with has friended some of the students he taught who have graduated. He said he talks to one girl everyday and they talk about how awful his cooperating teacher was and how much they dislike the school :eek: That to me is just completely inappropriate!
     
  7. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I don't have any current students as friends (that's actually illegal in my state) but we use Facebook to communicate with our drama club kids. Many other club sponsors do the same thing, and it works very well. I am set up as unsearchable, and also so that even if you find me you can't see anything about me. It's caused problems trying to get in touch with old friends. I'll accept students after they graduate, but keep all but 2 or 3 very limited in what they can see.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My students are informed that I will accept their friend requests once I can go into our records and confirm them as graduated. I have formed a couple of interesting friendships with former students. They still look to me as a mentor, and they remind me that I have done some good work with the kids who let me.
     
  9. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    I will add students after they have graduated. I have kids try to add me all the time, and I tell them my policy. They seem to get it once I say, "do you really want me knowing about what you do on the weekends?"
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's illegal to be FB friends with students? I had no idea. Do you have a link to more information about that?
     
  12. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Each district was required by law to train their teachers on that by last November. If you are Facebook friends with a student, you would be required by law to report each time either you or they posted anything on your wall, sent a message to each other, showed up in the news feed, etc. You school would have to keep a log. If you did not report it, you could be fired. Same goes with calling students, texting students, or e-mailing students if the means of communication is not provided by the district. Also, parents must be provided an opportunity to opt out of any electronic communication between their child and teachers. So Facebook is not specifically in the law, but it falls under "electronic communication."

    http://www.rittenbergsamuel.com/Electronic-Communication-with-Students-Law.pdf

    We had our drama club Facebook group listed by our school as "made available" by them. We also put on the permission slip for parents for drama club that we may contact them electronically by phone, e-mail, or Facebook and gave them the option to opt out of that.
     
  13. jcar03

    jcar03 Companion

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    I would never add a current student. I have seen friends post pictures of students on the facebook to and I think that is inappropriate. If I had children I would not want their photos on someone else facebook page.
     
  14. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I accept friend requests the day after graduation, period. My interactions with former students is pretty much limited to sending them birthday greetings.
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Personally, I just don't think it's a wise idea. Just my opinion. I have actually had students who I don't know, but who are "friends" with other teachers on their FB request me as their friend, but I always decline... I am just not comfortable with that.
     
  16. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for sharing this - wow - I am really shocked.

    "The bill would bar Missouri teachers from communicating with students using social networking like Facebook."

    "Both the Missouri House and Senate have approved this measure - which is just one part of a larger education bill."

    :eek:

    Missouri has been passing a lot of laws lately that really limit rights!

    I believe that the "predators" are going to be predators whether they are using Facebook/social networking or not. :dizzy:

    I shared this link on Facebook and there is a discussion going over there about it:
    https://www.facebook.com/teacherstuff
     
  17. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

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    Thanks

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I have been back and forth a lot lately on how to handle this. I tell my students I have 2 rules: 1. They can no longer and will not be a student of mine. 2. I will NOT send the friend request. The problem I am thinking about is since my school is 6-8 grades and I teach 7th grade, my students that I no longer teach are still at my school. I do not post things inappropriate on FB and I am very cautious with pictures. I;m thinking maybe my rule should be when they have finished 8th grade and moving on to the high school.

    Dovian, you mention about the liabilty which has crossed my mind too. Good point!!

    Mrs. Q you said you have a seperate FB page for students. I thought about that. Do you find it hard to manage?

    Someone else mentioned the group page. I thought about that too....


    Thanks everyone!! :thumb:
     
  18. The Fonz

    The Fonz Math teacher (for now...)

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    Jul 18, 2011

    i don't post anything inappropriate and i have it set so friends of friends can not view my profile, with taht said...i never friend request students or former students...but if a former student sends a request i will accept since they are 18 and out of the school.
     
  19. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    I only accept friend requests of students who have graduated. I don't see a problem with it once they have finished school.
     
  20. knightengal

    knightengal New Member

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    My students won't get my friendship on FB until they graduate. Sweet and simple.
     
  21. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    This is how I look at it...

    How will I benefit from having this person--any person--as a friend?

    If I can't think of a reason...or worse, I think of reasons it would NOT be a benefit...I don't add the friend.

    My rule is 21 and over. I used to have 3 exceptions to that rule (nephew, nephew's girlfriend, and former interpreting student), but all 3 of those are now over 21, so it doesn't apply anymore.

    21 and over. Period.
     
  22. GAteacher87

    GAteacher87 Companion

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    I've been wondering about this, too. I really like the idea that they have to have graduated from high school. By then, they are (most likely) 18 years old and are not minors OR your students anymore. Too many things can go wrong with adding students to the mix in your list of FB friends!
     
  23. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Again I would ask, what is the benefit of adding students who have just graduated, versus waiting until they are legal to do anything? I personally think the 18-21 group is the worst. Do you really want to know about every kegger they go to that first year of college?
     
  24. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    If a graduate asks to be my friend, I usually accept. Why? I like my students. I was one of their teachers when they were a senior. I am interested in their lives after high school. I like hearing about first days of college, or career opportunities.
     
  25. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    I personally do not allow any students who have not graduated to request me as a friend. Like so many others, I tell them that it's ok after they graduate - but not before. I started a professional FB page this year, to communicate with my club. I dropped it, however, after talking with my school librarian. She's very tech savvy, and she was telling me that there have been issues with teachers being held responsible for student posts. The example she gave me was that, if a student posts a suicidal message at 3:00am, I could be held responsible for not intervening, even though I was not on FB and did not see it. That was enough to scare me from allowing current students to friend me on FB - even with a "professional" account!
     
  26. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    I think each school and teacher should be able to decide the policy best for them, but the laws some of you mention blow my mind. I love Facebook. I have a separate page for my classroom (so students are linked to that, not my own account) but I use it ALL the time. Since students are on facebook so much, I post to the wall of that group assignment reminders almost every day. And since the kids check facebook so often, the assignment reminders show up in their daily steam/feed when they login. So they end up seeing all their friend's random status updates, and they also end up seeing "read pages 73-80, complete questions 1-10".

    The kids have loved it, and said it really helps them remember (especially the younger ones). I also use the page to answer questions, and post various discussion topics. If it was outright banned, I would be annoyed. It seems such laws are being passed out of fear of the medium, rather then any true hope for protecting kids.
     
  27. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    I don't do facebook at all. It saves me from alot of problems!!!
     
  28. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I don't think it's a good idea, unless it's a former student who has since graduated.
     
  29. RebekahD

    RebekahD New Member

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    `I say no! It just causes too much trouble which should avoided!
     
  30. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    i say no also. no to kids, no to parents of students. they are not.my.friends.
     
  31. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I won't friend any teen that goes to my school. Because I am semi-active with the youth group at church and other volunteer activities, I do have many under-18 friends. And I do interact with them on a regular basis. But once they move into my school or I get transferred to theirs, I de-friend them.

    The majority of my FB friends are from church. That helps me keep things squeaky clean, lol.
     
  32. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I do have some parents of students as friends but only because they were friends before we all became parents! lol.
     
  33. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    I don't friend any of my students even after they graduate. I am a popular teacher but no student has tried to friend request me. They are good with boundaries.
     
  34. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    I never added students before and don't plan on it. However, I teach in a district near my own school district and my kids have actually been friends with some of my students. For that reason alone I do not accept students (I'm not even "friends" with my own kids).

    It becomes a slippery slope. There are students I'd love to hear back from and unfortunately don't have an email address, but if I accept them, then it becomes problematic when I deny the students I'd rather not keep in touch with...

    However, I go out to lunch with students (which some deem even worse) sometimes. Next week I'll be going to a local diner with about 7 former students who are now reaching 22/23 years of age! They were members of NHS, which I ran back when they were in school. I'm really excited to catch up and see how they've been!

    (I should note, also, that in my district we've had two teachers friend students and get SUSPENDED from school for almost a semester because the teachers had "liked" inappropriate content--ie: beer, Family Guy, 2 for 1 deals at Applebees, dumb stuff like that.)
     
  35. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    I should also add that I do "message" students. I will give them my personal email and tell them I'd like to keep in contact but FB is not an appropriate means to do so.

    I have saved every single email a student as every sent me.
     
  36. Drama Teach

    Drama Teach Rookie

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    I have a personal Facebook account that I do not accept students on even after they graduate. I also run the school's Drama facebook account so that students and their parents can stay up todate with rehearsals. The only thing that it is used for is Drama stuff.
     
  37. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Many of the teachers in my school and our principal have Facebook accounts. We are "friends" with each other, and we allow the students to be our "friends" as well. Our principal trusts us to use it professionally, and to "group" and protect our pages in such a way that the students are limited in what they see and how they can interact with us.

    I appreciate working in a district and with a principal that allows me to use social networking professionally. So many businesses and colleges use it, so it's a great opportunity for us to show students how to use it responsibly as well, I think.
     
  38. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    This is my policy, as well. I never request former students as friends, either. If they want to make contact with me, I am usually happy to confirm their requests. I rarely interact with them on there, though, so I sometimes wonder if I should just delete them. I like to see how they're doing, but I don't need to know every detail of what they do each day!
     
  39. 1st-yr-teacher

    1st-yr-teacher Comrade

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    I don't have students as friends on Facebook. My profile is clean, pictures are not bad by any means. I just want to keep my professional life and my personal life seperate(for the most part). I am friends with some of my coworkers.

    I have had a couple of students who were not in my class ask me to be their friend. I just ignored it. I didn't send a message as to why....do you think I should do so in the future
     
  40. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Same here.
     
  41. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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